"Signs" of Downtown Ossining's Comeback are Everywhere

Managing Real Estate Broker with Howard Hanna Rand Realty License # 49FA1074963


Downtown Ossining 2011Growing up here in the 1970s and 80s, my memories of Ossining's downtown are those of crumbling blight. When Arcadian Shopping Center opened in the 1960's it only took a few years for almost all the commerce to migrate down route 9, leaving Main Street a veritable ghost town. The Urban Renewal of the time, mainly the demolition of much of the intersection of Main and Spring, was an ironic term. Urban, yes. But renewal? Hardly.There were renovations of buildings, but commerce of substance was gone for decades.

Times have changed yet again. Main street is back, and the signs that are now up around town commemorating the village's 1813-2013 Bicentennial do herald a new era that has been decades in the making. It is hard to pinpoint when the turnaround began exactly, perhaps the migration of the Ossining post office to the old site of the Ossining Hotel, but in the here and now downtown is vibrant and healthy again.

Just about every storefront is occupied. A casual walk from upper main to the newer buildings across from the Post Office reveals eateries, professional offices, salons, and lots of other "downtowny" enterprises. My friend Eric Schatz at Keller Williams has the old Ossining Bank building on the market, renovated, advertising condo units and retail space. Only 1 vacant building remains. The rest are pulsing with activity. Business is invested here.

Government is clearly working in partnership with private enterprise. Vacant lots are now parking areas. Public works have trees lining the street, potted plants in bloom in what is a wonderful metaphor for the locale, and the walkways from the aqueduct to the street are clean and in good repair. A guy that left  here 10, 20, or 30 years ago wouldn't recognize this place.

I left Ossining for college in 1985. I didn't return until 2000 after living and working in Philadelphia, New Orleans, Rochester and Boston. I know nice places. And this is a recession! Ossining is back, and you should take a stroll and enjoy it.

Downtown Ossining 2011

Downtown Ossining 2011

Downtown Ossining 2011 the "Crescent"

The Bartow Block, with Ossining National Bank in the foreground, on tree lined Main Street.

The view from upper Main Street, Ossining




Comments (22)

Nancy Conner
Olympia, WA
Olympia/Thurston County WA

Nice!  It is really wonderful to see an urban area bounce back with renewed life and activity.

Jul 18, 2011 10:03 AM
Lisa Orme
The Master's Key Realty LLC -Windsor, CT - HARTFORD COUNTY - Windsor, CT
Broker/Realtor, ABR, CRS,GRI, PSCS, SFR, Notary Pu

So nice to hear such good news when everyone is complaining about the economy...your older buildings lend a wonderful character to your town, and they look well cared for...and at least for Ossining, it looks like the changes are for the good!

Jul 18, 2011 10:07 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

What a great story about your home town's comeback.  I love the feel of "community" and bought a house in Georgia because it was just like a Norman Rockwell painting.  We loved it there!

Jul 18, 2011 11:25 AM
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

Phil it is great to see downtown Ossining come back to life, and I must say it looks good.  With the proximity to NYC and a train station nearby it sure makes sense; not to mention Westchester is a place many want to be.


Jul 18, 2011 01:10 PM
Howard and Susan Meyers
The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore - Winnetka, IL

Geat post Phil.   It's wonderful to see a dying northern town experience a re-birth.  It's really a mystery as to why some towns are able to come back and others just fizzle.

Jul 18, 2011 02:22 PM
Christine Smith
Buyers Brokers Only LLC - www.BuyersBrokersOnly.com - Canton, MA
Exclusive Buyer Agent & Attorney, Canton, MA

I love the old downtowns - especially when they are able to make a successful return!  And, I didn't know you lived in Boston at one time!

Jul 18, 2011 02:36 PM
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in Southern RI and beyond

Phil, you are very fortunate in Ossining to be experiencing this revitalization...it is a great feeling to see this happen in downtown USA!

Jul 18, 2011 02:50 PM
xxxx xxxx
xxxx - Alexandria, PA

Looks like a great place to call home !  Excellent pictures !  They certainly give a great feel for the location and atmosphere.

Jul 18, 2011 02:56 PM
J. Philip Faranda
Howard Hanna Rand Realty - Yorktown Heights, NY
Associate Broker / Office Manager

Phil- it looks better inperson!

Ginny, it feels great and was a long time coming. 

Christine, I lived in Watertown in 1995. I used to ride my bike along the Charles river in Cambridge. 

Howard, I think our proximity to NYC gives us staying power. 

Jennifer, YES, we are fortunate that there will always be an advantage to being in Westchester. 

Evelyn, I so relate. It is very pre-war here also. 

Lisa, the were changes for the bad for decades, so it was about time. 

Nancy, I credit capitalism. Small businesses. No franchises. Regular folks with dreams. I love it. 

Andi- no small feat indeed. It took a great deal of time and cooperation between government and business to get critical mass, because nobody wantes to run a business in a run down area. 

Anne- boy howdy- for years the local government proposed development elsewhere but our own back yard. Even 5 years ago this was far more dumpy. And this is a recession! This is the last derelict building on the far left- the WHOLE AREA was like this 10 years ago!

Downtown Ossining


Jul 18, 2011 03:16 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC

Hi Phil!  Now that is a downtown!  Beautiful and to have all of your store fronts occupied is a major accomplishment!  Congrats on the upcoming bicentenial!

Jul 18, 2011 03:46 PM
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Phil, I live in a town with a very vibrant downtown. Ossining looks like a beautiful town.

Jul 18, 2011 03:46 PM
Phyllis Lerner call 914.438.7556
Corcoran Legends Realty - Tarrytown, NY
Corcoran Legends Realty

Hi Phil...

Ossining has come a long way and seems to be continuing on the right path... it looks better and better... and I really hope they will get to develop their Hudson River Waterfront too... that would make an even greater impact... there is a lot of prime real estate just begging for housing, restaurants and recreation opportunities... if we just were in a better economy...

Jul 18, 2011 04:08 PM
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

Hi Phil - I've had a couple of clients in that neck of the woods recently and I have to say that its changed SO MUCH for the better. 
Also -for the science geeks out there....And for those who say they HAVE to have great schools - think on this.....The Intel science talent contest had 8 SEMI-FINALISTS from Ossining!  That's totally amazing and shows a tremendous commitment to excellence! 

Jul 18, 2011 04:47 PM

Awesome, moved to Ossining this past January, glad it's making a revival!  I will be here to watch and help Ossi grow!

Jul 18, 2011 05:37 PM
Donald Reich
Prudential Centennial - New Rochelle, NY

Phil, a succesful Ossining bodes well for the rest of the county, so this is very nice to see. Remember, Ossining is NOT just a prison anymore!!

Jul 18, 2011 05:38 PM
Gregory Bain
Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance - Little Egg Harbor, NJ
For Homes on the Jersey Shore

So, maybe the Obama Economy is not as bad as the Speaker of the House wants us to believe? The want ads are full of job offers for skills I don't possess but spell growth in commercial real estate in the immediate future. 

Jul 19, 2011 02:59 AM
David A . Goodridge
Keller Williams, NYC - Manhattan, NY

Pictures are beautiful Philip, town looks clean. The towns centerpiece with the flowers and benches is always a welcoming touch, someplace to relax after a hard day or a relaxing time in the city. We need more towns to step up and revive themselves.

Jul 19, 2011 03:37 AM
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Great story, Philip. Give us hope! It's so nice to see towns getting back on track. Glad to see Ossining is doing well.

Jul 19, 2011 06:35 AM
Joanna Cohlan
Fresh Eyes For Your Home - Chappaqua, NY
Designing, Decorating & Staging Westchester Homes

I hope Ossining is coming back-great architecture.  Wonder if it has anything to do with "Mad Men" ?  I hope that no big box stores come in as well.

Jul 19, 2011 08:45 AM
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Realty ONE Group Advocates 484-237-2055 - Downingtown, PA
Selling the Main Line & Chester County

My brother lived close by for a while and when I visited he took us to the farmers market that I believe is just opposite the row of shops you have photographed.

Jul 20, 2011 05:11 AM